Skip to main content

Andre Van Damme collection

Identifier: AC-329

Scope and Contents

This collection contains programs and newspaper clippings about Belgian-born Andre Van Damme, whose ballet company performed in Charleston, West Virginia circa 1953.


  • 1953-1954, undated

Conditions Governing Access

No Interlibrary Loan.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Dancer Andre Benoni Van Damme (December 16, 1919-February 3, 1989) was born in Belgium. He was admitted to the ballet company of the Royal Opera House of Brussels shortly after his 16th birthday. When his dance career was interrupted by military service, he struck a deal with officers that allowed him to continue rehearsals while discharging his army obligation. Van Damme was recalled to military service during the mobilization of 1939. When his country fell to the Nazis, the dancer joined the underground while continuing to perform.

Meanwhile, he had been named premier danseur ├ętoile by the ballet company, a title he cherished. Nevertheless, after the liberation of Europe post-war hardships took their toll. Van Damme and his family moved to America in 1947. They first settled in New York City, then were persuaded to move to West Virginia by John and Jose Hiersoux, Charleston pianists. They told Van Damme a ballet school was for sale and convinced him a living could be made in the state, and he could rehearse and tour with the Hiersouxes.

Van Damme settled in Charleston in 1948 and opened his school, which he called the American Academy of Ballet. He founded the Charleston Ballet in 1956. Van Damme remained in Charleston until his death.

(The West Virginia Encyclopedia)


0.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



The Andre Van Damme Collection is a collection of programs and newspaper clippings about Belgian-born Andre Van Damme, whose ballet company performed in Charleston, West Virginia circa 1953.


This is a one-folder collection.

Acquisitions Information

W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection purchased this collection in June 2006. Its accession number is AC.2006.039. It was opened to the public in August 2006.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, August 2006; Encoded by Kathryn Staley, August 2006.

Missing Title

  1. Van Damme, Andre
  2. Ballet
  3. Andre Van Damme Ballet Company
AC.329: Andre Van Damme Collection, 1953-1954, undated
Processed by: Kathryn Staley; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kathryn Staley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Appalachian State University Special Collections Repository

218 College Street
Boone U.S.A. - North Carolina 28608-2026 United States
8282624975 (Fax)